Staines halt Hawks bid

Aristide Bassele  Picture: Martyn White
Aristide Bassele Picture: Martyn White
Gosport have taken a lift from Craig McAllister's leadership. Picture: Keith Woodland

Gosport encouraged ahead of Redditch trip

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Lee Bradbury had nothing but praise for his Hawks side – despite a 1-0 defeat at Staines that puts a dent in their Skrill South play-off hopes.

The Westleigh Park side were hoping to climb into the top five with victory at Wheatsheaf Park last night.

However, a late Bajram Pashaj strike – the first goal the Hawks had conceded in 433 minutes of football – crushed their ambitions, leaving Bradbury & Co still enviously looking up at their rivals in the play-off positions.

But with games still in hand on those directly above them, all is not lost for the Hawks.

And Bradbury is adamant his side remain in a very strong position.

‘I couldn’t fault the effort last night, I thought we played well,’ said Bradbury.

‘We passed the ball well, worked hard enough and had the better chances. We should have had a blatant penalty, but we can’t blame the ref for the defeat.

‘Staines scored a cracking winner and they are a good side who are in form.

‘In fact, it was a close-fought game of football between two teams who tried to play the right way.

‘We’re still in a very good position – one point behind Dover, with two games in hand. I’m sure they would rather be where we are.

‘Now we have to pick ourselves up, ready to go to Sutton and another tough test on Thursday.’

The visitors weathered a frenzied start from the home side and Dennis Oli was almost gifted a great opportunity when a clearance was hit straight at him.

A raking crossfield free-kick from Danny Blanchett then picked out Christian Nanetti, who fired a low shot straight at keeper Jack Turner.

On 15 minutes, though, it took a terrific save from Hawks keeper Benji Buchel to keep his side on level terms.

Chris M’Boungou was left unmarked and his header looked destined for the net.

Somehow, however, Buchel pulled off a point-blank save to push the ball on to the post and away to safety.

Almost immediately, the Hawks came under pressure again, with Louis-Rae Beadle sending an acrobatic header just wide of the post.

Staines looked threatening going forward and Buchel had to pull off another good one-handed save from a Beadle shot on the turn.

It remained a tight contest between two evenly-matched teams at the start of the second half.

Substitute Aristide Bassele gave the ball straight to Beadle who fired straight at Buchel.

Nigel Atangana then responded by forcing a low save from Turner with a 25-yard drive.

On 65 minutes, Bassele went closest to breaking the deadlock with a firmly-struck shot which bounced behind for a corner, off the chest of Turner.

The game was opening up, with both teams looking for the decisive breakthrough.

It finally came in the 73rd minute when Staines substitute Pashaj crashed a low, angled drive past Buchel.

In an attempt to get back into the game, Perry Ryan fired a drive against the angle of post and bar as the Hawks attempted to battle back, but it proved in vain.

Hawks: Buchel, Strugnell, Blanchett, Ryan, Woodford, Harris, Nanetti, Atangana, Oli, Jones, Przespolewski. Subs: Kabba, Monteiro, Donnelly, Paterson, Bassele.